DHS Proposes To Further Extend The STEM OPT Extension From 17 Months To 24 Months
The Department of Homeland Security is proposing to further extend the Optional Practical Training period for certain students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from U.S. institutions of higher education.
The Proposal is intended to allow STEM graduates, who have opted for initial 12 months OPT, to be able to extend it for 24 more months whereby making their total period on OPT to be 36 months/3 years. Presently, they are allowed to have OPT extension for 17 months. The STEM Extension would still only be available to students employed by employers who are enrolled in USCIS’ E-Verify employment eligibility verification program.
The Proposal also contains “Cap-Gap” which allows such students to automatically extend the duration of F-1 status and any current employment authorization until October 1 of the fiscal year for whom a timely filed H-1B petition and request for change of status has been filed.